The Hazard Family Letters 1832-1950
August 31, 1836 Letter - S. Y. Hoffman  to Thomas Robinson Hazard
Script Steamboat Marking (New York to Newport)

(Scroll Down for Background Information & Thomas Hazard Biography)

August 31, 1836 New York Cancel - Appears to be an 181/2 Rate Marking
(Actual Rate in Effect was 183/4 Cents established in 1825)

The cover shown above is the Sixth mid-1830s New York Stampless Folded Letter (SFL), that I've received for my collection with what appears to be a rate marking for the 181/2 cent rate established by Act of Congress on April 9, 1816, (effective May 1, 1816) for mail traveling between 150 and 400 miles. The Postal Act of March 3, 1825, (effective May 1, 1825) increased the zone rate for 150 to 400 miles to 183/4 cents. The script rate marking appears to be in the same handwriting as the several other 1830s New York canceled covers in my collection. On all of these covers, the script looks more like 181/2 cents than 183/4 cents. I have several New York and Rhode Island covers where the script marking clearly shows 183/4 cents. I believe that this is just a lazy script on the part of the New York Clerk, who probably established his script style during the 181/2 rate period and just continued it into the 183/4 rate period. I am continuing to research these script markings and will add an explanation on these pages if I solve the mystery. 

(The actual road distance between New York and Providence Rhode Island is approximately 174 miles which puts it in the 183/4 rate zone.) 

I have set up a special page to track the cancellations and the 181/2 and 183/4 rate markings of New York Covers during the years 1816 to 1850.

SEE: New York 181/2 and 183/4 Rate Covers 

View Full Size Letter

The Letter is a business letter from S. Y. Hoffman in New York and concerns the textile products
bought from Thomas Hazard. It was written for Mr. Hoffman by F. Waldo (Most likely a clerk of Mr. Hoffman's)  The letter contains symbols and terms that are unique to the business and I do not know what some of them refer to. I have reproduced the symbols as they appear in the letter and perhaps someone with more knowledge of the early textile business can explain what they refer to. The letter follows below. 

New York  August 31, 1836

Mr. Thomas R. Hazard 

Dear Sir,

I received last evening the new linings from Phil, have already sold six out of the eight full at 27c -- The H Blue linings which I had refolded at Staten Island with the exception of one Bale, sold at 25 to make some drab Kerseys (A course woolen cloth)  cheap, all bought 27 cents. Have sold 5 packages at 27 -- I trust you will bring on all your goods fast as possible, and that the ' & H will keep up in quality full equal to the last lot received. They were very handsome and the best ones all sold at 33 cts -- Shall forward a Netel? as directed on Saturday in meantime am much in want of Drab Kerseys of which I have but two on hand.

P.S. The five bales fine Cambric and the 1 Bale damask red lining go by the boat this day.

Sold the other two H @ 27 --


Forwarded Very Truly in Haste,

S. Y. Hoffman
By F. Waldo

Thomas Robinson Hazard was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island in 1797. He was the second son of Rowland and Mary Peace Hazard.

NOTE: I recently acquired an old text written by Thomas Hazard, "The Jonny Cake Papers" - reprint of 1915 with an introduction and bio by his grandnephew Roland G. Hazard, the grandson of Thomas' brother Roland.
I have added
Roland's Bio of Thomas R. Hazard on a separate page.

Thomas R. Hazard was educated at, the Friends' school in Westtown, Chester County, Pennsylvania and then worked in his father's mill in South Kingstown while also farming and raising sheep. (He was known as "Shepherd Tom.")  In 1821, he went into business on his own and established a woolen mill at Peacedale, RI.

In 1836, Thomas purchased an estate in Portsmouth, RI, which he named Vaucluse. He married Francis Minturn in 1838 and retired from manufacturing in 1840. After his retirement he took up writing. His subjects included such diverse topics as capital punishment, African colonization, political essays, religious persecution, medical instruction, and sheep farming. One of his better known works was a collection of South Kingstown Folklore called The Johnny-Cake Papers of Sheppard Tom originally published in 1888 and reprinted in 1915. 

Thomas Hazard was heavily involved in the spiritualist movement and after the death of his wife he wrote many articles on the topic and hosted frequent sťances at his home in Portsmouth.

Thomas Robinson Hazard died in New York City in 1886. Francis Minturn Hazard died in 1854. Thomas and Francis had 5 daughters and 1 son.

NOTE: I recently acquired an old text written by Thomas Hazard, "The Jonny Cake Papers" - a reprint of 1915 with an introduction and bio by his grand nephew Roland G. Hazard, the grand son of Thomas' brother Roland.

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